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JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. ( 192 ) VIII. — Observations on the Manners of the Inhabitants who oc- cupy the Southern Coast of Arabia and Shores of the Red Sea; with Remarks on the Ancient and Modern Geography of that Quarter, and the Route, through the Desert, from Kosir to Keneh. Communicated by James Bird, Esq. Read June 23d, 1834. As steam-communication, between India and this country, has be- come a subject of public inquiry, the latest information regarding the people of southern Arabia, and along the shores of the Red Sea, may be of interest to the members of this Society. I am indebted to others for some of the geographical facts which I here communicate ; and the remainder of this paper is the result of personal observation and inquiry among the Arabs. In the afternoon of the 10th of January, J 833, 1 embarked on board the Hugh Lindsay, government steamer, which was now to perform her fourth voyage to the Red Sea ; and, early in the morning of the 20th following, first saw the high land on the Ara- bian coast, which lies to the eastward of Ras Sharwin or Kisin point. At 9 a.m. we had advanced within twenty-five miles of the shore, and observed that the whole of this coast is bold and mountainous. It appeared at first sight to closely resemble the shores of India ; but a nearer view soon convinced us that we had been deceived. The mountains, which rose to the height of two or three thousand feet, presented, here and there, the flat tabular appearance of the trap formation, with that scarped and fortified aspect which characterises the hills on the Dekhan coast, but with- out a tree or mark of verdure, without even the stunted brushwood which covers and gives beauty to the most barren of those on the Indian shore ; sterility claiming this dreary region as its own. The eye of the observer ranges in w r onder over this country, where the depth and ruggedness of the ravines, that descend to the ocean, convey to him an impression that desolation here reigns triumphant. The two vertical pillars which crown the mountain ridge near Ras Sharwin, and are named Asses' Ears, on account of their fancied resemblance, were soon left behind, while the steamer continued her course through the now smooth sea ; and early qn the morning of the 21st our anchor was cast at Mukallah. This port, since the ruin of Aden, has become a place of some import- ance ; and is generally frequented as an emporium by the trading vessels from India and the coast of Barbara. Mukallah, situated N.N.W. of a small point of land that shel- ters the town on the east, is concealed from the observation of those coming from India until the vessel rounds the headland, and has almost entered the bay. Here large vessels obtain safe Observations on the Coast of Arabia, fyc. 193 anchorage close to the shore, except during the prevalence of southerly winds, to whose violence they are completely exposed. It is under the dominion of an independent Shaikh, who has power over ten or twelve other towns in this neighbourhood. The pre- sent possessor, one of a family that has for several generations been in authority at Mukallah, is named Abd-al-Rab. He is not less than seventy-five or eighty years of age ; is tall in stature ; is athletically made ; and has a dull, sulky cast of countenance, which indicates as much sternness of purpose as ferocity of dis- position. Not long previous to our arrival, one of those petty warfares, in which each party calls to their aid the Bedwins of the Desert, had been carried on between the old Shaikh and his younger brother, Abd-al-Habib. The latter, who was more po- pular at Mukallah than his now surviving brother, raised a consi- derable party in his favour, and seized on one quarter of the town, while the friends of his rival occupied another. A desultory firing was kept up between the opposite sides for several days ; when Abd-al-Habib, attacked with symptoms of cholera, died sud- denly ; but not without the suspicion of having been carried off by poison, secretly administered. It is thus that an obnoxious indi- vidual is easiest removed ; and though we have heard much of the Arabs' hospitality, their fidelity, and the openness with which they profess themselves your enemies, they will seldom hesitate to nega- tive all these by their actions, when their interest dictates to them a contrary line of conduct. Frequent examples of poisoning happen among themselves ; and, where distinguished foreigners have been the sufferers, I may mention that of the lamented traveller Dr. Seetzen, poisoned by the father of the present Imam of Sanaa, who gave to Mr. Mackell, of the Bombay medical establishment, a manuscript vocabulary belonging to the de- ceased, which contains the German and Arabic names of objects in natural history. The present Shaikh of Mukallah retains in his service a consi- derable number of followers to protect him against domestic foes, or the attacks of the neighbouring shaikhs, who divide the posses- sions of this coast, and are frequently at war with each other. These armed retainers, who are generally slaves, and recruited from among the Suhailis of the African coast, are sometimes, however, less innocently employed than in humbling their foes, or keeping down sedition ; and have been known to plunder defence- less boats from India, with a view of recruiting their masters' finances. Instances of this kind are less frequent than they were some years ago. The presence of our armed cruizers in this quarter, the late establishment of steam communication between India and the shores of Arabia, and the more intimate and cordial VOL. iv. o 194 Observations on the Coast of Arabia connexion formed by the shaikhs with our eastern government, have operated as a salutary check on the lawless dispositions of the rulers who possess this coast. The Shaikh of Mukallah, however, must plead guilty of having been formerly addicted to these malpractices ; and felt as little concerned, perhaps, at the death of a factious brother as he did at these acts of robbery. Abd-al-Rab, though suspected of having been accessory to his brother's death, is too far advanced in dotage to have taken an active part in the murder ; and his kurani, or secretary, who pos- sesses the confidence and power of his master, is more justly considered to be the guilty person. The coast of Arabia, as before said, is essentially different in appearance from that of India. Instead of the amygdaloid and basaltic rocks which, in the latter, bound the shores of the ocean, we have here perpendicular cliffs of lime and sandstone, with alternate shelving banks of white calcareous earth : for the red ferruginous soil which covers the mountain sides, and gives nourishment to grass and brushwood, we have interminable hills of bare rock, barren heaps of trap tuff, and breccia, where not a blade of vegetation is seen : for the green colour of the highlands, we have a brown or unpleasant grey appearance of the surface ; and then the character and costume of the people are quite as un- like the other as is the nature of their country. The brown and sun-burnt visage, the slender but active form, and energetic manner of the Arab, clad scantily, form a no less striking difference to the fair complexion, the sleek look, and indolent movements of the Hindu merchant, clothed in ample folds of red turban and white dhotar, who is here exiled from his native land in pursuit of gain. The fine regular features of the Sumali traders from Bar- bara ; their ringlets of soft hair, artificially changed to a flaxen colour, and allowed to flow negligently around their shoulders, here again present a contrast to the jet black complexions and woolly hair of the Suhailis from Ajam, who have not the thick lips or protruding mouth of the negro. The dress of the people in this district is more like that of the poorer orders of Indian Mohammedans than that of the Arabs in general. Instead of the long blue cotton shirt, with wide sleeves, which is worn by the inhabitants of Egypt and Syria, the Arabs here use a piece of striped cotton to cover their loins and thighs, and have a kirtle, made of cotton or woollen cloth, to come no lower than the grom, over which they gird a leather belt, to give support to the waist. The last also serves to retain the crooked dagger or jambia, and sometimes pistols, with one or other of which all are armed. In addition to these weapons, the Shaikh's military retainers are accoutred with swords and matchlocks. and the Shores of the Red Sea. 195 Their usual head-dress is a scanty turban, which some twist about their heads, like a rope around a cone. Some wear sandals, though the greater number are without any covering to the feet. The Sumalfs are yet more lightly clad than the Arabs ; and, in addition to a wrapper for their loins, have only a thin white sheet thrown negligently around their shoulders. The people at Mu- kallah intermarry with the Mohammedans of Kahtewar and Gd- jar&t ; and the Shaikh's youngest wife is the daughter of a petty chief in that quarter. The town has rather an imposing appearance on approaching it from the sea. The houses, which are generally divided into three stories, have rows of narrow latticed windows, flat roofs, and watch-towers. Railed walls, ornamented in the Mohammedan fashion, with serrated balusters, enclose the roofs of the houses, and supply the females of a family with a private place for exer- cise, and a cool sleeping apartment during the hot weather of April and May, which must be intolerable. The castellated ap- pearance of the dwellings reminds one of the baronial habita- tions of feudal times ; and this style of building was probably borrowed from the Arabs about the time of the crusades. Sun- burnt bricks, of white calcareous earth, and shell limestone, are the materials generally used for buildings : which, when plastered with lime, have an air of outward cleanliness and comfort that is not found existing within them. On visiting the Shaikh, who was seated in the second story of his mansion, we found him surrounded by a body of dirty Arab attendants, among whom were several of his children. After some conversation with the commander of the steamer, coffee, made from the husk of the plant, and sweet sherbet, were handed round. I did not relish the former, as it was without sugar ; but, on giving over my cup to an attendant, the remaining contents were eagerly swallowed by him ; and a clear proof afforded me that the preju- dice of the Indian Mohammedans, who will neither eat nor drink with Europeans, has been adopted from the Hindus. This Mohammedan patriarch's attendants, who laughed and prattled with each other, were so much at ease in presence of their master, as to lead the imagination back to those primitive ages when the members of a tribe shared the dangers and counsels of their lord. The room in which the Shaikh received us was nearly as primitive as the manners of his followers. It was a dirty whitewashed apartment, twenty feet wide, of which the floor was covered with a common mat : on which the old man and his counsellors were seated ; and the only furniture connected with his establishment, that bore the stamp of modern days, were some chairs placed for the accommodation of his European visiters. o 2 196 Observations on the Coast of Arabia The hills of Mukallah, which closely approach the sea, and leave little or no intermediate beach, are composed of white lime- stone, traversed by sandstone, similar to what forms the hills of the Desert between Kosir and the Nile. At the base of the highest mountain, situated N.W. of the town, trap breccia occurs ; and the same extends some way along the east side of a narrow valley, in which flows a small stream of good water, that has its source near the village of Bakrain, distant three miles from the port. On the road between Bakrain and Mukallah, veins of secondary sandstone traverse the lime formation in an east and west direc- tion. Near the village, a hot spring, of which the temperature is 98° of Fahrenheit, is met with ; and also a cold one, from which the inhabitants of Mukallah, and trading boats, are supplied with water. North of the village, the road continues to pass over barren, rocky ground, and now and then to deeply wind among hills, where a few stunted bushes are the only produce, affording pasture to the goats and camels of the Bedwins. As far as the eye can reach, there is nothing seen but a succession of hills ; between which are valleys, that occur as oases in a desert, similar to that of Bakrain. The town of Hazramaut is distant, I was told, five days' journey on an ass, or about a hundred miles : on approaching which, the valleys are said to widen, and the richer and deeper soil to produce date trees abundantly. The present ruler of Hazramaut is Shaikh Bobak-bin-Salim ; to whom many of the other shaikhs of this coast pay tribute. In the valleys, similar to that of Bakrain, a small rill of water is made to irrigate a date-grove ; and several patches of scanty soil, collected by building up terraces along the bed of the water-course, are cultivated with dura, (|j) — holcus sorghum — some stunted radishes, and occasionally a kashew-nut tree, called vaidan ( ^ \ by the Arabs. During the prevalence of the south-west wind, which brings rain, in June and July, to this part of the coast, a considerable stream is formed in these valleys ; and the quantity of produce is thus considerably augmented, though by no means to an extent that might entitle this country to the name of Arabia Felix, given to it by the ancients. It was through the medium of this country, and the trade of the Sabseans, that the produce of India, consisting of jewels, spices, and other valuables, was conveyed to the west ; and such articles of luxury seem to have influenced so powerfully the minds of those who received the imports, that imagination associated their richness and the country from which they came. and the Shores of the Red Sea. 197 This is the only way we can account for a moderately fertile tract being distinguished by a name that ought to denote a Paradise. During the time we lay at Mukallah, the general range of Fahrenheit's thermometer was from 78° to 83°. The wind blew from the north-east, bringing along heavy clouds, and sometimes a little drizzling rain. I was informed that this last is not unfre- quent here. The southern part of the Arabian coast, between the Curia Muria islands and Bab-al-Mandib, and also its western border, from the Straits to the neighbourhood of Mekka, was known to the Greeks, as Apafiix -h EuSaiAUuv, or Arabia the Happy. This appellation, given to distinguish it from the other districts of Arabia Petraea and Deserta, would appear to be a translation of ? ' ... its Arabic name of -j (Yamun), signifying "the Blest;" though some, erroneously conceiving the name to be .^ (Yaman), have said that the Greeks hereby meant to distinguish the country on the right or south. The geographer Ibn Alwardi describes it as that part of Arabia situated opposite the country of Barbar and Zanj, or that of the Siimalis and negroes, and divided from the province of Nijd (Jksy) by intervening mountains. Among the Greeks, Arabia Felix was made to include the country of the Alramitae, or the modern Hazramaut ( i^i.+ , f ^')i with the pos- sessions of the Homeritae, the Sapphoritae, and the Ascitae ; all of which are mentioned by Ptolemy and Pliny. The Arabian geographers, in like manner, sometimes include Hazramaut and Tahamah* in Yaman ; though they generally restrict the appel- lation to that part which, embracing the sea-shore and moun- tainous tracts about Marib and Sanaa, extends from about Mokha to Ras Harjiah, or the ancient emporium Arabiae. East of this is Hazramaut ; of which the district, on the coast, from Ras Harjiah to Zafar, near Ras Morbat, is known by the name of Shihir-f", erroneously called Seger or Sijar, from a wrong reading of its Arabic name. It is mentioned by Marco Polo, with the article, and correctly called Escier ; the chief city of which gave name to the whole, and was forty miles east of Aden. * Tahamah is thus described by Ibn Alwardi : — " It is a division of Yamun, situated between Hijaz and Yamun, and is environed by mountains. Its limits are the Sea of Kolzum on the south and west, and the mountains on the north and east. It is inhabited by Arab tribes ; and among its cities Hejar is celebrated." ■(■ According to the Arabic geographical dictionary, called Maajmu-1-Baldan, Al-Shfhir ( j fcuiM ) > s a tract of country on the coast of the Indian Ocean and the ter- ritory of Yamun, extending, they say, from Aden to Oman, to which it is joined. 198 Observations on the Coast of Arabia In this district is situated the town of Ufe (Zafar or Dafar), which must not be confounded with a city of the same name iu the neighbourhood of Sanaa. The last, according to the geogra- phical work called " Maajmu-1-Baldan," is now in ruins, and was the capital of the sons of Hamaiar, or the Homeritas, a branch of the Sabaeans ; over whom Charibael was sovereign in the time of the Periplus*. The Homeritae inhabiting Zafar were known to the ancient geographers as the Sapphorita?, who inhabited the country between the Homeritas and Sabaeans. Pliny tells us that Saphar was a town that lay inwards from the port of Ocelis, and that the kingdom was called Saphar or Sav6. He has confounded it, as would appear, with the district of Saba or Maribf ; for Save is placed, by the Periplus, as a town distant three days from Moosa, and thirteen from Aphar, or Zafar, in the country of Sanaa. The Save 1 here meant is probably the same as ** (Shaibba) of the Maajmu-1-Baldan, which is said s to be opposite Yamun, and on the road from Zabid (^Jj) to (UJuj) Sanaa. Saba (\^ l ), called by Ezekiel ShebaJ, and de- scribed by Ibn Alwardi to be the same with Marib, must not be confounded with Save and Sabbatha ; the last of which is a city in Hazramaut, now called Shibam (Jj^). Marib, or Saba, was the chief place from which oriental produce was obtained in the early ages, and is north-east from Sanaa. From this the mer- chants came to occupy the fairs of Tyre " with the chief of all spices, and with all precious stones and gold J." Amidst many different opinions entertained regarding the country from whence came that celebrated queen who visited Solomon at Jerusalem, none appears more reasonable than that which assigns its locality to Marib. From this she came with " a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones §." Spices were used for the anointing the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, the altar of incense, and of burnt offering ||. The cassia, cinnamon, and * Vincent's Periplus of Arrian, p. 314. + The Nubian geography says, that Marib is also one of the cities of Harzamaut, but which is now in a manner destroyed ; and this is the city of Saba, from which came Belkis, the wife of Solomon. From Hazramaut to Saba is a distance of two hundred and forty miles j and between this and Sanaa there are one hundred and twenty miles. * Ezekiel xxvii. 22. § 1 Kings x. 2. || Exodus xxx. 23. and the Shores of the Red Sea. IQ9 sweet calamus were imported from India, but the myrrh was brought from Barbara and the African coast, as was the gold pre- sented by the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. The present articles of trade bartered in this quarter are the same as when the Roman merchants frequented these shores. 1 was told, at Mukallah, that besides the myrrh, gum, and frank- incense, brought by the SumaMis from Barbara and Ajam, sheep, fowls, eggs, and slaves are imported, and find a ready sale in Arabia. f There are two kinds of frankincense or (i^W) loban; one of which is the produce of Hazramaut, and is collected by the Bed- win Arabs ; the other is brought by the Sumalis from Africa. The former, which is met with in small globular lumps, has a tinge of green in its colour ; but the other, which is more like common resin, is of a light yellow appearance. What the SumaMis 9 import, and name .Ja*-* ^U (loban mati), is less fragrant than the Arabian kind ; it is, therefore, preferred for chewing, but the last is more used for fumigation. Both kinds are exported by the Hindu merchants to India, along with myrrh, gum, and small portions of honey, collected in the country near Aden. The sheep, which are of the Abyssinian breed, have large tails, like those of the Cape of Good Hope, and are covered with fine white hair instead of wool ; these, with the fowls and eggs, are sold to trading vessels that touch on the coast. On our arrival at Mu- kallah, there were two American vessels at anchor. They had come here to obtain a stock of fresh provisions and radishes, as one of them had a crew suffering from scurvy ; which disease made its appearance during a long cruize in search of spermaceti whales. Excepting sharks' fins and salt fish, obtained here in great abund- ance, the articles before mentioned are the only ones imported from this part of Arabia : and in return, the merchants trading to India buy rice, sugar, and cotton clothes ; as in the days of the Periplus, when the inhabitants of Muza sailed to Lymirica, and Barygaza, or the Desert of Sind, and Broach, and brought these articles back to Dioscoris, or Socotra. In exchange for these, they loaded their boats with tortoiseshell. Besides the last, ivory was purchased on the coast of Barbara ; and at the present day it is brought here by a caravan from the interior of Africa. The town of Barbara* is situated nearly two hundred miles to • Ibn-Alwardi says, " The country of Barbara is joined to the country of Nubah, on the sea-coast opposite Yaman ; and in this there are populous towns, and a mountain which they name Kanuti. This mountain has seven peaks, and is visible for forty-four miles at sea. Many of the people of Barbara eat frogs, reptiles, and other unclean things," 500 Observations on the Coast of Arabia the south of Bab-al-Mandib. A fair assembles here annually, when small trading vessels arrive from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Caravans, of four thousand camels, come at this time from the interior of Africa, and bring with them gums, ivory, ostrich feathers, skins, and other articles. The language of the Surnalis, who possess this country, is the Ghlz or Ethiopic ; which, from the specimens of it given in Ludolf 's Lexicon, is a language cognate with Arabic. The geography and trade of these countries, hitherto so little known, deserve to be more fully investigated : but I now resume my journal of the steamer's progress along the Arabian shore. On the 24th of January we left Mukallah, and passed Cape Aden. The following morning, at daylight, we came in sight of Ras Bab-al-Mandib, which is a moderately elevated conical hill of apparently basaltic formation. The Straits, or Bab-al-Mandib, are two narrow entrances to the Arabian Gulf, separated by the island of Perim ; which is a black rock, on which there is no trace of vegetation. The eastern, or smaller strait, is about three miles in breadth, the other fifteen. We sailed through the former with a light south-east breeze ; and, before night, passed Mokha and Jabal Zeghir. South of Jabal Zi, called by the Arabs, Daoab, and near the entrance of the eastern strait, there is a sandy bay, with a Bedwin village and water ; the situation of which corre- sponds with that of Ocelis, said by Pliny to have been more a watering-place than an emporium. Near the island of Perim, and on the African shore, numerous turtles, that are poisonous when eaten, are caught, on account of the tortoiseshell. Many Arabs find employment in this trade, as in the age of the Periplus. Having passed Mokha, we continued our voyage, and expe- rienced, on the 27th, an unusually sultry and oppressive state of the weather, which was accompanied by a breeze from the E.S.E. These phenomena, being very uncommon at this season of the year, led the captain to conclude that they would be soon succeeded by a strong N.W. wind. Accordingly, towards night, the breeze set in from this quarter, and continued increasing, accompanied by cloudy weather and rain. Before the succeeding morning, the breeze had become so powerful, and the sailing-rate of the steamer so much diminished, as to render it doubtful whether, with the limited quantity of coals then on board, the passage to Jidda could be made good. At noon, the island of Zobair was seen bearing N.W. by W. ; and, there being now an object in seeking a place of shelter till the wind moderated, we bore up for Hodida, and not long after came to anchor in four fathoms water. Hodida is a town of considerable size, situated N.E. of a sandy bay, which, on one side, is sheltered by the land running out N.W., and the other S.S.E. Ships, when anchored here, and the Shores of the Red Sea. 201 are well protected against a heavy swell, if coming from the north, as a coral reef on that side breaks the violence of the surf. The style of building is similar to that of Mukallah, but the houses are on the whole better finished ; and the domes and minars of several mosques are advantageous additions to the beauty of the town. Though ships and boats less frequently resort to this har- bour than the one at Mukallah, yet the market-place of Hodida is better supplied with articles of comfort and luxury. Besides silks and cloths of various kinds in the bazaar, I observed that the several grains procurable in India were exposed for sale. Jauar, called by the Arabs \jii (durah), bajri or (j^^) dtikhan, korad, or dujrah hindi (phaseolus maximus), chuna, or (LkL) sambarah (cicer arietinum), with wheat and bailey, calledjj (barr), and t^^ (shair), are produced, and brought from the valleys of Yam6n, where small streams irrigate the only fertile portion of Arabia. In the neighbourhood of Mokha, and about Hodida, the country is flat and sandy, and chiefly produces date-trees; but from the mountains beyond the Tehamah, which are visible from the coast, and are distant two days' journey, grapes, coffee, limes, and other produce are brought to the market. About seventy miles south of Hodida there is a river, on the fertile Wadi of Zabid, which is the only stream of Arabia that contains a sufficient quantity of water to enable the current to reach the ocean. It has been sometimes doubted whether any of the Arabian streams reached the sea ; and many have thought the water of all was expended in irrigation, or lost in the sands. I have been informed, however, by good authority, that this stream forms an exception to a general rule. When Ibn-al-Wardi wrote his geographical dictionary, called " the Pearl of Wonders," Zabid is described as a large city on a small river, where merchants from the maritime parts, from Habshah, or Abyssinia, Irak, and Egypt, came to trade. It has since declined in importance, and the mouth of the river in which it lies is now so much obstructed by a bar of sand, that its water continues quite sweet to the very place where it disembogues itself into the sea. On our arrival at Hodida, the town was in possession of the rebellious Turkish soldiers of Mohammed Ali, who had mutinied the previous year, and taken possession of the town and mosque of Mekka, but were soon after driven out by the Nizam Jadid. Turchi-bil-Maas, their leader, who was absent at Mokha, had also seized on Zabid, Bait-al-Fakih, and other places along the coast. 202 Observations on the Coast of Arabia The only cruelty he committed in these conquests was having put to death in cold blood the Daula of Mokha. The country seized on has been long subject to the Imam of Sanaa ; who, sunk in effeminacy and debauchery, thinks not of his subjects' happiness, while he can tyrannically find the means of gratifying his sensual propensities with the money contributions of his deputies, unjustly raised by exaction. Since our visit the rebels and Turchi-bil- Maas have been driven out of Mokha by Ali-bin-Majitta on the part of the Imam. We sailed from Hodida on the 30th of January, and arrived at Jidda on the 2nd of February. Any description of this place is here unnecessary, after the excellent account given by Burckhardt, the best and most learned of Eastern travellers. Between Jidda and Ras Mohammed, there are several places known to ancient and modern geography, that can with certainty be identified ; but Dr. Vincent has already so well illustrated this subject, that little re- mains for others to do. I may, however, remark that the ruined town of Inouanah, near the Gulf of Akaba, is the Onne of the Peri- plus, and that Charmotas is the Sharm Yambu; for Sharm signifies, in Arabic, a port. From Jidda we sailed for Kosir, where we arrived on .the I Oth of February, from which date I will continue my original journal, containing an account of the road from hence to the Nile. Feb. 1 Ith. — I visited old Kosir, six miles N. W. of the modern town. The town of old Kosir is situated on the north side of an inlet of the sea, which formerly extended westward into the land about a mile, but is now crossed by a bar of sand, that prevents the ingress of the water into the former channel. The ruins of the houses are chiefly found on the north side of the channel, which is still swampy in some parts of the bottom, where, in former times, the sea formed a kind of backwater to the point of land on which the town stood. North of the town a range of calc-tuff mountains extend a little to the east, and shelter the site of the town from northerly winds. Two small conical risings crown the summit of this range, and are the chalky mountains mentioned by Bruce. The banks which bounded the former inlet, are formed of white calcareous tuffa and sand, as is also the whole of the shore of the Red Sea at this part. The sea appears to have gradually retired from the land, and left a considerable beach be- tween its present limits and the base of the mountains westward. Mr. Carlass, of the Indian navy, found a portion of an alabaster vase among the ruins, and numerous portions of broken glass, and lackered pottery are found. Thermometer at day-break, 6l°. New Kosir is situated on the south side of a sandy point of land, the base of which is formed of shell limestone, forming a and the Shores of the Red Sea. 203 kind of cove or anchorage where vessels may lie in five fathoms of water within sixty yards of the shore. South of the town, at the distance of twenty miles, a range of hills, 4000 feet in height, is visible. The sandy banks south of them are more abrupt than those in the north, over which run hills of calc-tuff, that ascend to the height of 200 feet. Between the sand banks and the sea, there is a flat gravelly beach, varying in breadth from a quarter to three-quarters of a mile. The houses of the town are low and meanly built of sun-burnt bricks, made of white calcareous earth, and only a few of them consist of two stories. North-west of the town is a small citadel defended by round towers, and a few guns of no great calibre are mounted on the works. Feb. 12th. — Marched from Kosir, going W. N. W. for one hour and twenty-five minutes between banks of breccia and pebbles, which appeared stratified as on the banks of rivers. A few minutes after came to a stream of water, which followed the course of the road, that then turned west and continued so, as far as the Bir Anglis. These are wells of brackish water, dug by a detach- ment of the Indian army which went by this route into Egypt, and are distant two hours and thirty minutes. On the south side of the stream, some black hills of trap-rock occur, and soon after, on the same side, there are ranges of stratified limestone, of which the strata dip N. E. On the opposite side, sandstone and lime are found alternately. The whole of the road is flat and gravelly, having all the appearance of a broad dry river bed, open- ing here and there,.on the right and left, into valleys of two or three miles in length. In the limestone, near Bir Anglis, the strata alternate with sand, and are frequently studded with round pebbles. Thermometer at day-break 6l°, in the shade, march- ing, 70°. While near the shores of the Red Sea, I may mention that Lieutenant Wellstead, of the Indian navy, found three stone tablets belonging to a temple which he uncovered near Ras-ul-Anf, and has determined beyond doubt the site of the antient Berenice. Two of the tablets were inscribed with hieroglyphics, and a third with Greek. The last, which was mutilated, contained a dedi- catory inscription by a Ptolemy, who had for his queen a Cleopatra, his wife and sister. Such was the case with Ptolemy Euergetes, P. Lathurus, and P. Dionysius, husband of the renowned Cleo- patra. Feb. 13th. — At thirty-five minutes past seven, left Bir Anglis in continuation of the march through the Desert. The two narrow wells of brackish water at Bir Anglis are the only means of sup- ply which the poor Moghrobin pilgrims, going by this route to Mekka, have of quenching their thirst, though the water is totally 204 Observations on the Coast of Arabia unsuited for the use of those who can carry with them skins of wholesome water or other such means of supply. The road lay west for one hour and twenty minutes, or four miles, between light- coloured hills of lime and sandstone, situated on the right. The flat tabular arrangement, scarped-like face, and striated appearance of the different strata of these hills were finely contrasted with the black shining surface, the rounded waving ridges, and conical pro- jections of the trap breccia on the left. The valley, which had seldom exceeded in breadth a good-sized river, narrowed where the sandstone formation joined the other, which was continued on both sides of the road, though rocks of the sandstone formation occa- sionally re-appeared. After thirty-five minutes past eleven, we arrived at Sayad Siiliman, where are the remains of an old wakalah or caravanserai, and a well of tolerably good water for the desert. The latter, as appears from the names of Messrs. Briggs, Han- cock, and Wood being recorded here, had been lately repaired at their expense. The distance between Bir Anglis and Sayad Suli- man took us four hours ; and, after having rested a little, we con- tinued our march, four hours more, to Abu Ziran, where there is no water. Here there is a ruined wakalah, in the middle of which there is a deep excavation, now partly filled up, but which was either a reservoir for water, or a well. We passed several watch-towers on the road, and another ruined wakalah, besides those just mentioned ; all of which are said, by the natives, to be the work of the Afranj, but who may be particularly meant by the term does not appear clear. The distance from Sayad Suliman took four hours, the road occasionally turning S. and S.W. The loaded camels were ten hours from Bir Anglis to Abu-Ziran. Feb. 14th. — Left Abu Ziran at half-past seven: the thermo- meter, at sun-rise, was as low as 35°. For an hour and ten minutes, the road lay W., after which it ascended a little, run- ning W. S. W. one hour and fifty minutes more to Bir-us-Sid, where there is water. On the rocks, south of this well, there is a short hieroglyphic inscription. From Bir-us-Sid, two hours and twenty minutes, we came to a well-executed hieroglyphic in- scription, on the north of the road ; a little farther on from which, and on the opposite side, very distinct and extensive hieroglyphic inscriptions are found. From hence to Hammamat is a distance of thirty-five minutes. Here there is a ruined wakalah, and a very deep well of bitter water, to which we descend by stone steps. The whole fabric has been lately repaired, and a Marhab or altar- piece built, for the Ababdi Arabs of the desert, by the gentlemen whose names are recorded at Sayad Suliman. At Hammamat, the hills, formed of black trap-rock or wacke, are of greater and the Shores of the Red Sea. 205 altitude, and more abrupt than the ranges previously met with ; and about an hour and a half, or four miles and a half from hence, the beds of the watercourses, which ran east in the previous part of the road, now began to end. West from Hammamat to Jaif-ul-Ajul, where we halted, was a distance of one hour and fifty minutes. The loaded camels performed the whole distance from Abu Ziran, in nine hours and forty-five minutes. Jaif- ul-Ajul is a sandstone rock, on the right-hand side, where the camelmen usually halt ; it is covered with hieroglyphic characters, and over a small model of a portico to a temple, on each side of which is a figure of Osiris, there is something written in demotic characters. Feb. 15th. — Left Jaif-ul-Ajul at a quarter past seven. The thermometer at sunrise was 38°. The route alternately lay W. N. W. 80°, and W. S. W. 80°. Soon after leaving this place, the country expands and becomes more open, the road running between low ridges of sandstone, while the high hills appear at a considerable distance on the right and left. Arrived at Lagetta after five hours and a half. The loaded camels were seven hours and fifteen minutes on the road. Lagetta in an Ababdi village. Feb. l6th. — Left Lagetta at seven o'clock. Thermometer 39° at sunrise. Arrived at Bir-Amber after six hours, the loaded camels having taken seven hours and a half. The route lay alter- nately W. N.W. and N. N. W. over successive ridges of sandy gravel. Amber is the first village on the limits of cultivation; having on the east side high banks of gravel and sand, and about six or seven miles from it are the sandstone hills which bound the Nile on the west. The hills from this village bear W. S. W. 80°, and run towards the north. On our arrival at the mosque of this village, built by Ibrahim Pasha, the villagers brought out milk, butter, eggs, and fowls ready cooked, and entreated us to buy their articles. The scene was altogether a novel one, and so ardently did the venders urge their claims to our patronage, that we were at length induced to buy something, in order to get rid of their troublesome entreaties. We found the double water-wheel of India here worked by bullocks. The Shaikh of the village induced us to take a night-guard, by telling us what former travel- lers had suffered from the thieves. Feb. 17th. — Left Bir-Amber at half past seven, and arrived at Keneh at eleven, having been three hours and a half. Thermo- meter 52° at sunrise. In concluding these cursory observations on the countries and inhabitants in the vicinity of the Red Sea, I would suggest the pro- priety of this Society endeavouring to obtain, through the means of some of its travelling members, a more full and accurate de- 206 Observations on the Coast of Arabia, 8;c. scription than we yet possess of that part of Arabia called the coast of Hazramaut; and also an account of the countries of Ajam and Barbara, which, from their connexion, prior to our era, with the Greek kingdom of Egypt, are well worthy the atten- tion of geographers. The history of the different races inhabiting this quarter would be a subject of curious inquiry ; and an account of the physical characters of the Sumali and Bedja tribes, and in what respects they are different from those of the Shangalla and Negros, would enable us to determine, with accuracy, the origin and distribution of these several orders of men.